In the spirit of doing cool and cheap things off the beaten path, Ben and I decided to go to an open house at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance. We had both never heard of it before and the term “fiber arts” was all we needed to be interested. He and I share a love of textile, patterns, and tradition.. so why not? Tucked away in an unassuming office building complex, we found a bustling room full of small local non-profit organizations who had some incredibly interesting objects to share.
From silk painting to lace making, I was amazed by my lack of knowledge on the processes that transform fiber into the beautiful garments we wear every day without a second thought. Take a look at that small strip of white lace in the photo below. That took TWELVE HOURS to craft using those wooden tools. Seeing the blue lace come together was like watching swan lake; the effortless precision used to create this incredible thing of beauty was simply extraordinary. It had never occurred to me that lace was made string by string like this.
Ben and I learned how to work the loom! Again, what a painstakingly long process to make a seemingly simple piece of fabric. The woman who showed us the steps said she saw it as more of a meditation than an art considering how simple it truly was. I beg to differ though, seeing as how I consider my own art a meditative process as well. Repetition and simplicity does not diminish a craft, but merely emphasizes the importance of the passage of time and dedication utilized to achieve the goal product.
I want a yarn-bombed tree in my new place or yard pretty badly.
There are some places that I want so badly to be good, but no matter how hard I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, I just can’t deny my disappointment. I really don’t enjoy writing negatively, but keeping my writing voice honest is very important and in order to do that I also need to share my experiences that aren’t so perfect.
I’ve visited West & Mill twice now and both times were for a leisurely brunch, free of pressure or expectation. On Sunday mornings, I just want something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sometimes all it takes is a good coffee and a bagel and other times I need a tad bit more effort. West & Mill is at a great location in West Midtown, right across the street from Octane. It has a cute and quaint little dining room which is a slightly weird, but cool mixture of European bistro and contemporary industrial. By looks and looks alone, all signs point to a pleasant dining experience.
I want to write on something a bit different today. The Love Yourself Linkup has been a great way to explore ideas and personal stories on self-image, but for this post I would like to focus on something we tend to forget about until it’s corrupted – the value of our professional work. It’s a different kind of self-love that’s not often given attention due to cultural norms in the American workforce. When I say value, I mean in it a variety of senses: monetarily, creatively, metaphorically. As young professionals in a depression era, we’re unfortunately subject to a skewed value system in which the unemployed abound and the employed tread lightly for fear of losing their coveted positions, even if they’re really not so great. Too often we let our desire to be liked dictate the course of action we take when wanting to take a stand for our worth.
I wanted to speak on this topic because I have way too many talented friends and colleagues who are being taken advantage of, without them even knowing it. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced it firsthand as well. It’s become so evident to me recently because I’m a mid-20-something meaning all of the people I socialize with are going through a similar professional crossroads. You usually begin at the bottom of the totem pole after you graduate college. I graduated 2010 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, entering the workforce at probably the worst time to have such a degree. And so the imposed societal instinct is to suck it up and take what you can get, if you can get anything at all. Prove yourself worthy, exceed their expectations, and stay quiet. While I still believe this sort of work ethic is important, it also underscores the rip current that takes you further and further away from reaching the status and value you actually deserve.
Please find the courage within to fight for what you are worth.
The best thing about late summer is that feeling. That feeling you get when you’re about to skinny dip into a lake. That feeling when you’re just tipsy enough to dance like no one is watching (and not fall over). That feeling of watching a fire burn down to just embers. Like your life is destined for a romance like the stuff of young adult novels, all starry-eyed and lovelorn. And your only goal is to continue living free.
[ image via tumblr ]
There are honestly so many negative thoughts running through my head right now that I feel like I can’t even type fast enough to get them out in a clear manner. I just spent the last hour driving home from an extras gig, bawling the entire way. I didn’t want to bother any of my best friends with a random whiny phone call so I just allowed myself to jump into a pit of sorrow and self-pity. I simultaneously love and hate that I feel so strongly about my journey. Right now the only word I can use to describe it is lost. I feel so, so, so lost. All of the time. Well, maybe not ALL of the time. But it certainly feels like it right now, as more tears roll down my cheeks.
Important note: if you are a real life friend or family member of mine – never mention anything about this post to me in real life. For the sake of my pride, I’d like to pretend that I still have a shred of anonymity and dignity when it comes to this blog. The reason why I write it here and cannot discuss it in real life is because I just can’t bring myself to let you see me this way.
There are way too many effin cute neighborhoods in Atlanta. It’s wonderfully overwhelming and keeps me feeling alive to discover all the little gems scattered inside the perimeter. A recent Saturday took me to East Lake in search of Thread Count, a unique vendor’s market focused on raising awareness for local craftsmanship, sustainability, and design. In other words, it pretty much had my name written all over it plus there was no cover charge at all. I expected the typical Atlanta craft market experience where you come, covet, eat, and leave. Little did I know that East Lake’s neighborhood would charm the pants off of me. Why?… Just look.
On the way to Thread Count, Ben and I stumbled upon the East Lake Urban Farm. Due to our impending move to a duplex unit with a backyard begging for a garden, I’ve recently become obsessed with nurseries, farms, and vegetable gardens. Perhaps it’s the farm to table trend seeping into my blood. Perhaps it’s my desire to save money. Either way – it’s a healthy new interest and I’m looking forward to what I might be able to pull up from the earth with my own two hands. In the meantime, I’ll just keep ogling cute places like this.
The event was held in the East Lake Community Garden which is filled rows of blooming vegetables and a den of weed-eating goats (even little ones). Though there weren’t many vendors in total, each one was dripping with a genuine desire to share the love of their craft. Not to mention there was also free beer from New Belgium. Did I mention that I like stuff that’s free?
I met a number of darling artisans who were just beginning their creative journey. Like KJo – audiologist by day and jewelry maker by night! She scavenges for vintage items and reclaims them into sweet little pieces to wear. Her display felt like the awesome attic of an eccentric aunt who has a taste for the feminine along with the slightly strange.
And Rachael of Neva Opet, who hand-crafts elegant leather accessories. She’s an absolute doll and more on her later!
Do you need any more convincing to go see East Lake for yourself? Just a little drive around the neighborhood will do you a world of good, but a visit to the garden and farm will be enough to make you want to plant your own roots here.
Explaining your goal in life or work is never easy. There are all these things that people expect for you to say – to make the world a better place, to have an effect on people’s lives, to make money, et cetera. Of course those are all things I want to do, but that doesn’t really explain how I’d like to do it. I think my life is better summed up as an endless pursuit of beauty. I want to seek beauty, find beauty, and cultivate/create beauty within others and within myself. So when Natalie Borton began her Choose Beauty Linkup, I knew I had to get in on it. I’ve read such lovely and poignant stories being shared on Anne‘s Love Yourself Linkup so it was a no-brainer to join another network encouraging earnest reflections on personal stories and experiences. I may not be able to post every week on both linkups, but hopefully what I do get to share will be fulfilling for both me and you.
I’ve always thought of beauty as an outward journey, an active search or effort to bring more beauty unto me. Whether it is through clothes, make-up, decor, or whatever, the thing I thought I needed to find would always be out there somewhere. It was within the pages of the glossy magazines showing me who I could be if I just tried a little harder. It was in the stacks of history books in the art and architecture library. It was growing outside in the meadows and all around me. It can actually be overwhelming sometimes when I think about all the ways in which I see our beautiful world. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I see beauty so pervasively is because I often fail to see it within myself.
Catch-up dinners with close friends are a wonderful thing. Sometimes they are just casual and fun and other times they become some of the most inspiring and motivational conversations you’ll ever have. Last night I had one of the latter kind with a friend who’s known me since the beginning of college. She’s seen me be everything from ridiculous to amazing and seems to always understand the beauty in the things I do. Pretty priceless, huh? We got into a discussion over our current states of restlessness, almost drowning in our desire to make our dreams manifest into reality. She read aloud to me Linda Holmes’ article on NPR, Hey Kid: Thoughts for the Young Oddballs We Need So Badly. I highly suggest you read the entire thing, but here are a few of my favorite parts.
The fact that nobody is doing what you imagine doing is the beginning of your idea, not the end. People want to read things that haven’t been written, see things that haven’t been made, and hear things that don’t yet exist. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see yourself reflected in what’s being shown to you, let alone what’s being heavily marketed to you.
Everything worthwhile has a strong feeling in it, which means if you’re going to make great stuff, you’re going to have strong feelings. This is part of why people associate artistic types with moody outbursts or temper tantrums or lying around saying, “Oh life!” And it’s sort of true.
Out here, we are already waiting for you. We are already anxious for you. Out here, we want to see your stuff. Don’t get me wrong — some of us will disappoint, reject, confuse, misunderstand, mislead, or even exploit you. (Not the good ones of us on those last couple. But some.) But we want to see your stuff. Keep going.
UGH. That is SO good right? Of course after reading it, I’m thinking “I wish I had written that,” but more importantly I wish I had read that when I was younger. The world is prime for our individuality to shine if we allow it to. If we believe in our original thoughts/ideas/creations and put them out there and exercise them, who knows what will happen. And the beauty is in our possibility, our potential. We – meaning I – need to stop trying to arrange ourselves to be reflections of icons of success or cultural importance and instead place priority on becoming a genuine and unfiltered reflection of the inner creator.